Codeine-in-Nigeria
Codeine abuse has become a prevalent crisis in Nigeria

Three companies- Emzor Pharmaceuticals Limited, Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited, and Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited were last week shut down by NAFDAC following an investigation which incriminated them in the codeine syrup crisis.

NAFDAC’s Director General,  Mojisola Adeyeye, in a statement, noted that the move became imperative after the uncovering of evidence (despite inconclusive investigation) by a Task Force she constituted. The Task Force comprised of NAFDAC Directors for Registration and Regulatory Affairs, Narcotics & Controlled Substances, and Drug Evaluation & Research. Also on the committee are the Executive Secretary of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, and representatives of Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries, May & Baker, and Fidson Healthcare.

The inspection took place between May 2nd and 3rd, first at the manufacturing plants of Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited, and Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited in Ilorin, and then at Emzor’s facility in Lagos. All three companies were hitherto licensed to produce codeine-containing cough syrup.

 Due to insufficient evidence gathered and apparent resistance to provide needed documents during our inspection on May 2, 2018 at the respective companies in Ilorin and Lagos, respectively, it has become necessary to shut down all product lines of the three companies – Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited. Plots 3 & 8, Adewole Industrial Estate, Lubcon Avenue, Ilorin, Kwara State; Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited. No 405 Kaima Road, Ilorin, Kwara State and Emzor Pharmaceuticals Ind. Ltd., Ajao Estate, Lagos. This is to allow for a full and comprehensive investigation. The three companies therefore remain closed.-NAFDAC

In the meantime, the three pharmaceutical companies will remain shut, depending on the level of cooperation the investigation committee receives during a subsequent and thorough inspection.

It took a BBC documentary to throw open the controversy

Late last month, the BBC aired Nigeria’s deadly codeine cough syrup epidemic, an investigative documentary which shed light on the rising cases of Nigeria’s youths’ addiction to codeine. The documentary asked vital questions about the manufacturers’ of the cough syrup, thereby prompting the government to take action by banning the products.

It is unsurprising that the above-named companies have been shut down.

Would this affect the companies?

Without a doubt, Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Limited and the two other companies have a major crisis to grapple with which has the potential to destabilize their business. Asides the fact that the shut down would potentially affect their daily business operations and by extension their revenue/profit, they would also have to struggle with integrity issues as customers resort to alternatives for the sake of quality and safety.

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